Dan Joseph Introduces the English Folk Scene with a Portrait Project

All images and text by Dan Joseph. Used with permission.

I’m Dan Joseph a commercial photographer based in London. I grew up in London and developed an early interest in photography thanks to a combination of my father’s photography background, and access to a homemade darkroom. After completing a BA in Photography at the University of Portsmouth in 2006, I moved back to London to begin my career.

I use the Nikon D850, and lens I use are 35mm 1.4f, 58mm 1.4f and 85mm 1.4f. Lighting, depending what I’m shooting, is either available light or I use my handy little Lencarta safari heads and battery packs. The reason I use the kit I do is really just so to get the best quality image I can in the easiest way I find to work. I’ll have a loose idea in my mind and how I’m going to light it. But once you’re all set and the subject arrives then sometimes ideas change, and you can find yourself freestyling. It’s part of the fun of the job keeping you on your toes and keeping me loving photography.

Photography is what I enjoy doing and I can’t see myself doing another job. I got into photography seriously from around the age of 14 so around 21 years and I’ve been shooting professionally for 10 years now. Photography was always around growing up, as my father was a photographer in the Army and he built later on a darkroom which I played around in printing very bad photos I’d taken. His dad was an amateur photographer/videographer, one of my cousins is a photographer in Canada, and his brother is a videographer. Even my niece has now just gone and started a photography club at her school.

My biggest influences — well more of photographers I admire — are Jeff Wall, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and Henri Cartier-Bresson.

I’m probably more skilled as a creator but like to think of myself as documenter. This is probably because my dad was a documenter and he had a fair few Magnum, Time, and Life photography books on the shelf that I loved looking at as a kid.

I’m sharing here a personal project on the English Folk scene of Morris Dancers and Murmurs I shot earlier this year. I photographed many of the performers to see a cross-section of the types of people that are involved and dress styles of the different groups.

People love to see things that are on the fringe or they don’t know anything about. Although everyone in the UK knows of Morris dancing, its seen as something that is no longer happening or it only does in really rural areas. There is a newfound interest of a younger generation that are restarting and bringing back to life some of the old folk traditions.

With the advent of things such as Brexit in the UK, there seemed to some sort of identity crises the country is going through and lots of questions of who we are and where we want to be. I decided to look at the traditions we deem to be very English and find out more about its roots and the people who connect to it. I just find people fascinating and love to capture it in all its forms when I can.


Visit Dan Joseph’s website and Instagram to see more of his work.